Cooking for the Fearful: Corn Chowder

In my previous post, I mentioned wanting to try more soup recipes in keeping with the tips in “Five Packaged Foods You Never Need to Buy Again.” So I’ve decided to post the recipe for the corn chowder that I made last week, which I haven’t stopped thinking about since. This recipe definitely deserves status in the “Cooking for the Fearful” series (see the first post here), because, as with so many soups, all you have to be able to do is to cut things and then put them in a pot. And then eat them. The most complicated part is probably buying the sriracha sauce, if you don’t already have it or know what it is. Basically, it’s a Thai hot chili sauce and it looks like this:

Reasons why I love this corn chowder:

1. Growing up in Massachusetts, I have fond memories of the corn chowder at local restaurants, which was always creamy and filled with chunks of potato.

2. This recipe reminds me a lot of those corn chowders, but it also has bacon in it.

3. Not only does it have bacon in it, it also has sriracha, the rooster that makes everything taste better.

Essentially, this recipe combines three different recipes — the one made by my mom and local restaurants throughout my childhood, which exists nowhere on paper and solely in my head as a Platonic idea of Chowder, this one, a fairly traditional recipe, and this one, which gave me the idea of adding sriracha to yet another unexpected dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups of corn (I used the frozen stuff)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sriracha

Directions:

First, fry the bacon in a large saucepan until it’s properly brown and makes your kitchen smell wonderful. Take the bacon strips out and set them aside, and add the chopped onion to the hot saucepan with the bacon fat. Cook the onion until it begins to get translucent, and then add the diced potato.

Give the potatoes a minute to start softening, then add the corn, vegetable stock, milk, heavy cream, bay leaf, and sriracha.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. In the last five minutes, take out the bay leaf and crumble the bacon strips into the saucepan (adding it at the beginning will give you very soft, squishy bacon in your soup). Season with salt and pepper to taste, and ladle into bowls to serve. A spoonful of sour cream goes really well on top.

Options:

1. If you wanted a thicker, but less chunky soup, you could use an immersion blender.

2. This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sriracha instead of the 1/4 I used. Now, I love sriracha, but I still wanted my chowder to taste like corn and not like fire. However, if you have hardier tastebuds than mine, go for the full 1/2.

3. This soup is great for freezing — I doubled this recipe and froze some of it for later